Mandalay – San Francisco, CA

I have never tried Burmese food and so when A suggested trying out a popular Burmese restaurant, I agreed. Mandalay is arguably one of the first Burmese restaurant in San Francisco and has been popular over the past decade.

Hard to miss the gaudy exterior!

Restaurant is not very big, and very cluttered with decorations. I guess I should not  be surprised from the exterior~

Menu is quite extensive, making our first visit a little intimidating but servers are great with recommendations.

We ordered:

Tea Leaf Salad (Lap Pat Dok) $9

Salad prepared with imported Burmese tea leaves, toasted Lentil, grounded shrimp, fried garlic, green pepper, sesame seeds, peanuts drizzled with lemon juice & vegetable oil

I was pretty skeptical about this salad when it hit the table but it was great! It is a great dish to share and start the meal with – bitter notes from the tea leaves and nice crunchy sweet peanuts and crispy garlic tossed in lemon juice and vegetable oil. Very nice dish.


Fish Chowder (Moo Hin Nga) $9

Fish chowder with rice noodles, ground catfish, onions and cilantro

Savoury, cat fish chowder with lots of gelatinous bits of what seems to be cat fish head. Garnishes included cilantro and lemon which definitely brought the dish to another level.

The chowder was a little fishy, so the cilantro and lemon is necessary to cut through the fishiness (Not a dish for everyone). The rice noodles were a little too soft did not hold up to the thick salty soup w a hint of sweetness.


Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup (Ong No Kaw Soi) $9

Coconut soup with egg noodle, chicken, hard boiled egg, onion, cilantro and lemon

The coconut soup was sublime~ It was slightly sweet from the coconut milk and rich with hint of curry. The egg was a nice compliment to the dish and it was topped with crispy shallots that was nice. The noodles were silky and cooked to a nice al dente. Delicious!


Rangon Beef $11.95

Marinated beef w spices sauteed with fresh tomatoes, onions, bell peppers & green chili

The beef is very tender and only lightly tossed in a salty, sweet, spicy sauce. The fresh tomatoes added a nice citrus and freshness to the dish. Very good and tasty with white rice.


Pumpkin Curry Chicken $9.95

Chicken curry with green bean, onion, peppers and pumpkin served in a carved kabocha squash

The curry was very creamy, sweet, salty with a little kick to it. The chicken was tender white meat. The squash gave the sauce a nice body to it, and there are carrots and long beans that were still a little crunchy. Pretty good dish overall.


Mandalay Eggplant $9

Deep fried eggplant tossed with chef’s special spicy sweet sauce

This dish caught me by surprise! It was very crispy on the outside with well cooked soft eggplant in the centre. Lightly tossed in a rich sweet salty sauce so it was still crispy and piping hot when it was served. Amazing over white rice.


Mandalay Special Noodle $9

Burmese flat noodle with mild coconut chicken, yellow peas powder, lime juice, onion and fried thin noodle

My mouth continued to be surprised by the dishes that we were served. The noodles were packed with flavour, smothered in a creamy coconut sauce enhanced by the cilantro and lemon. The crunchy fried noodles gave it a nice texture along with the smooth silky flat noodle.


Sticky Rice w Fresh Mango $6

The sticky rice was very gooey and chewy with more like a mochi texture than the usual sticky rice that I am accustomed to. The rice has been ground up to a more finer texture than actual rice bits. Sweet and coconut-y with a generous slice of mango.


Fried Banana w Ice Cream $6

Great banana fritters, with a savoury crust and sweet banana that was not mushy~ Served with raspberry swirl ice cream that was delicious with the fritters. Great dessert.



3 Steamed rice @ $1.50 each

Burmese Iced Tea $3.95

The iced tea is pretty similar to Thai Iced Tea – but a little less sweet and a little stronger tea flavour.

Young Fresh Coconut $4

Refreshing and sweet. The coconut was not really young because of the thicker harder flesh but still good.

Ginger Lemonade $4.95

Another refreshing drink. I didn’t try it but I was told it taste a lot like the yellow lime gatorade!



Total Damage: $146 (including tax & tip)

Personal Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Very very good)

Oh No! I just finished this post and realised they charged us for a dish we did not order $10.50 for a Mango Chicken. We all just split the bill but didn’t really take a look at it but I did take a picture of it. Grrr …(this is one of my pet peeves, and happens way too often. Note to self : Always check bills even if eating in groups)

This was the very first time I tried Burmese food, and was told that this place serves actual authentic dishes. I enjoyed every dish and it was not cheap but worth every penny spent.

Service was great w a few bumps along the way. Drinks took over 15 minutes to get to us, then the food came in a steady stream after that. Guy who took our order was patient with answering questions and making suggestions. Every dish was fully described when placed at the table.

Make a point to make a reservation because without one, wait could take up to an hour!





4348 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94118

(415) 386 3896

(Note: Urbanspoon has two addresses for this place but it is the same location)

Mandalay on Urbanspoon

Mandalay on Urbanspoon

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